posted October 10, 2023

Let me tell you about a friend of mine, Isaac.

Photo Credit: Julie Gray

Charlotte the spider wrote many descriptors about Wilbur in the classic Charlotte’s Web. Her words apply to Isaac as well—humble, terrific, radiant. Some pig.

Simply put, Isaac made my life better.

Isaac was part of a severe neglect case and rescued with his sisters in 2013. The family moved from New York to Indiana later that year thanks to committed activists. Isaac called PEAK Animal Sanctuary home for the rest of his days. One of the most beloved residents, he passed away quietly following a short illness earlier this summer.

Isaac was the sort of friend you could sit with at the end of a long day. He was a good listener.

Photo credit: Marine Fayolle

He knew his own heart and was also easygoing. None of us will forget the day this photo was snapped!

Isaac loved his snacks and his mud wallow. He was always happy to see us.

When staff and volunteers join PEAK, it can take a bit of time to tell some of the individuals apart. On long-term medications, Isaac always needed to be differentiated. Folks quickly learned that they could say his name and Isaac would happily return the call with a gentle grunt often meaning, “That medicine is mine, and I’ll take the bread too. Thank you very much!”

Photo credit: Allison Hess

It’s difficult to quantify the impact that Isaac had over the years not only because of his longevity, but because of his gregarious, kind, joyful nature. Many visitors remember Isaac as their favorite resident—his charm, his affability, his SMILE! And he loved a good belly rub.

I invite you to consider whether supporting a farm sanctuary, and getting to know individuals like Isaac, might be something that you are missing in your life. Could giving back in this way be part of your self-care?

Photo credit: Kristy Todd

A decade since PEAK started, as the first nonprofit for formerly farmed animals in Indiana, it’s thrilling and inspiring to see the growth of sanctuaries. However, this also means there is work to do.

Vegan farm sanctuaries of all sizes need our support—in the form of volunteering our time, donating our dollars, or even sharing posts on social media. Sanctuaries often have remote volunteer opportunities as well as work to be done on-site. Both can be valuable!

Let’s end where we began with a lovely soul who spent his days feeling the breeze, loving his family, and making the world brighter with his presence—all made possible by many folks along the way.

Thank you, Isaac. Rest well.


Photo credit: Allison Hess

Allison Hess holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior from the University of Michigan, a Master’s degree in Education from Indiana University, and certification in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. A 2018 graduate of Main Street Vegan Academy, Allison offers support for folks transitioning to vegan living. She serves on the PEAK Animal Sanctuary advisory council and lives in Bloomington, Indiana where she cares for a number of individuals at her own microsanctuary. Find her on her website, Veg Coach Al, and Instagram @microsanctuaryhill.

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